Alton Towers fined £5,000 after couple's battle for a peaceful life

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The Independent Online

The owner of Alton Towers was fined £5,000 yesterday after a private prosecution brought by a couple who said noise from the site had made their lives a "nightmare".

The owner of Alton Towers was fined £5,000 yesterday after a private prosecution brought by a couple who said noise from the site had made their lives a "nightmare".

District Judge Timothy Gascoigne also served a noise abatement notice on Tussauds Theme Parks Ltd, which runs the attraction in Staffordshire.

Stephen and Suzanne Roper said after the hearing of Stoke-on-Trent magistrates' court, held at Stafford Crown Court, that they hoped the theme park would stick to the terms of the order for the sake of the community.

The couple live in the hamlet of Farley, just 100 yards from the main entrance to the park. They have run up a legal bill of about £250,000.

Alton Towers - where the rides recently closed for the winter - plans to appeal against the judge's findings in the Crown Court.

Asked if the prosecution had been worth the effort, Mr Roper, who runs a pottery firm, said: "Definitely. We have got three or four quiet months. Let's see what next year's going to be like."

Mrs Roper said: "I think it's time that Alton Towers started to listen to the people who live around it and think about their quality of life."

The judge ruled in August that Alton Towers was guilty of noise nuisance under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act after hearing that the din of late-night fireworks, concerts and corporate weekends had contributed to the Ropers' misery.

Jonathan Caplan QC, representing Tussauds, said the firm had received an e-mail indicating the Ropers' high legal costs. It is understood Tussauds had conceded it would pay the prosecution costs, but a further hearing will be held to decide the issue.